'Hawks and 'Dogs

The Icedogs won’t be the only local team at the Valley Ice Garden this season, as the Blackhawks try and wing their way into the hearts of the Bozeman area’s diehard hockey fans.

Like the ‘dogs, the Blackhawks will be sporting black, red, and white uniforms as they hit the ice for their first season in the Junior B Division of the North Pacific Hockey League, which has 10 other teams in its ranks. The team’s first training camp began August 23 at the Ice Garden, and the Blackhawks start official league play in September.

Ice Garden spokesperson Gino Plyer says that the Blackhawks, playing at a lower skill level than their Class A Icedog counterparts, will feature more local and state talent, including four players from Bozeman. Still, Plyer says that the Blackhawks will offer fans more excitement on the home ice, where crowds hold the best attendance record in the Icedogs’ league, and the third best in the nation overall.

“The Icedogs usually play on Friday and Saturday, and the Blackhawks will have mostly Sunday home games,” says Plyer. “It’s more hockey for everybody.”